There’s no escaping the prominence of the internet in our lives – whether in a professional or personal capacity, our online and offline worlds are impossible to separate these days. Virtual tools like email and cloud storage have become such a mainstay in business operations that we can barely imagine life without them anymore.
And it’s only when our vital network connections fail that our dependency on the internet really becomes apparent – activities often grind to a halt, with disruptive or even catastrophic results.
Take the recent ransomware attack on the NHS, for instance. This incident didn’t just show how vulnerable organisations can be to cyber-attacks, but also highlighted the devastating impact a system failure can have on offline activities too. In this instance, doctors and nurses were left unable to conduct X-rays, carry out operations or even print out ID tags for newborn babies.
Of course, for most businesses, a system failure wouldn’t result in such severe consequences. But as well as the obvious annoyances of being unable to access emails or online files, internet downtime can have a real impact on both company finances and reputation.
Facing the figures
Recent research from internet service provider (ISP) Beaming reveals that in 2016, UK businesses endured an average of three days of internet downtime. And while this doesn’t sound like much time in the grand scheme of things, it cost the economy around £7 billion in total, as a result of lost productivity and extra overtime pay-outs.
The study also shows that throughout last year, over three quarters of the nation’s companies – around 4.2 million – suffered from connectivity failures. On average, these outages worked out at 27 hours of downtime and financial losses of £1,287 for each firm.
Size doesn’t matter
It’s easy for small and medium sized businesses to think that it’s just huge corporations that suffer the consequences of things like cyber-attacks and internet downtime – but unfortunately for SMEs, this isn’t the case.
Whilst Beaming’s research did reveal that large organisations employing more than 250 people were those most affected by outages – with 88% impacted last year alone – 62% of self-employed professionals were also subject to disruptive downtime. And even though the financial losses for the biggest firms were far more, it’s all relative when it boils down to the bottom line.
What can you do?
Whilst power outages and other external factors are hard to defend yourself against, there are a number of things you can do to help prevent your business going completely offline:
· Choose a trusted internet provider – Location matters, so when you research the costings of different operators, make sure you look at which are rated the best in your region.
· Opt for a leased line – Using fibre rather than outdated copper cables to connect you to the internet, leased lines are more reliable and give your ISP more control over your service.
· Have a back-up in place – An additional safety net can be to choose a service or router with a back-up 4G option, so even if your primary network connection fails, you’ll have an alternative to fall back on until the problem is sorted.
· Enlist managed IT support – Most reputable partners will proactively monitor your systems and keep you clued up on how to keep your connections running smoothly. And if things do go wrong, there’s nothing more reassuring than having an expert on the other end of the phone to get you sorted!
If you’re having trouble with your internet connectivity and are worried about the impact it’s having on your business, we can help! Call us today to find out more about the services we provide.